Former Damned bassist Bryn Merrick, whose mid-to-late '80s tenure with the band coincided with some of their most commercially successful music, has died at the age of 56 following a struggle with cancer.

Vintage Vinyl News reports that the news of Merrick's death was shared by singer and guitarist Andy Johnson, who played alongside him in the Ramones tribute band the Shamones. "On behalf of his daughter, Ella, and sons, Richard and Christian," wrote Johnson, "it is with so much sadness that I announce that my best friend, Bryn Merrick, passed away peacefully this morning after a long battle with cancer at Llandough Hospital near Cardiff."

Merrick was recruited into the Damned in 1984 following the departure of Paul Gray, who quit to join UFO. Although his time in the band was relatively brief, ending when the band went on hiatus in 1989, Merrick was present for 1985's hit Phantasmagoria effort, which achieved a career-best No. 11 chart peak, as well as their Top 5 cover of Barry Ryan's "Eloise." According to Noise11, Merrick and Gray finally met recently, crossing paths "weeks ago in the cancer ward where they were both being treated."

"What a character he was. I didn't see as much of him as my colleagues, but I've heard many funny stories about the lovable rogue over the years," Damned guitarist Captain Sensible told Classic Rock Magazine. "I called on Thursday, letting him know he was much loved in Damned circles and thanking him for his important part in the band’s history. But hearing the news that he'd died just before we hit the stage at Chicago Riot Fest was still a real shocker. Our set was thus dedicated to the great man, just before we played his fave song, 'Ignite.' Bryn liked the fast stuff — it was the way he lived his life."

Remembering Other Rockers We've Lost in 2015

Rock and Roll Hall of Fame's Worst Snubs